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Carlsbad Man Convicted in Deadly Hit-and-Run Bicycle Case

Joseph Fernandez, 46, faces up to four years behind bars for the April 10 death of 47-year-old James Swarzman on Highway 101 in Leucadia.

A Carlsbad motorist who struck a bicyclist near Leucadia State Beach in Encinitas, then left the scene, was convicted Tuesday of hit-and-run causing death.

Joseph Ricardo Fernandez, 46, is scheduled to be sentenced Sept. 12 by Vista Judge K. Michael Kirkman, who conducted a two-day bench trial.

He faces up to four years behind bars for the April 10 death of 47-year- old of Encino. Swarzman was riding with friends when he was struck from behind about 1 a.m. in the 1200 block of North Coast Highway 101, said Sheriff's Sgt. Mark O'Connor. Swarzman died several hours later at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla.

Fernandez came forward the next day to report that he believed he might have been involved in the accident, O'Connor said. Detectives inspected his Dodge Ram 1500, which matched descriptions and had front end damage. Fernandez was arrested, but no charges were filed. He was released from custody pending further investigation and re-arrested April 25.

CNS contributed to this story

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